Today's clarifying message from SEVP allows online courseloads
Today's clarifying message from SEVP allows online courseloads
hong kong landscape with good news written on top
Greetings from the Office of Global Engagement at the University of Mississippi.  I'm pleased to share some good news related to international students and course delivery this fall.
The past few months have been uncertain in countless ways, but immigration policy changes have caused anxiety and fear among international students throughout the United States. The rapidly shifting policies have finally been clarified, and it is a good outcome for our students. 
Thank you for your patience as we waited for this clarification.  If you have additional questions please don't hesitate to contact OGE at

Blair McElroy
Senior International Officer

Continuing Students

  • International students who are continuing their studies this fall semester can exceed the 3 hour limitation in online or remote classes up to a fully online course load while in the United States.  
  • If options for in-person or hybrid courses are not available to international students to make progress in their programs, they will be compliant with ICE/SEVP policies even though their fall schedule is all remote or online.
  • Continuing international students can enroll in a fully online courseload from outside the United States and will not jeopardize their visa status by being outside the United States for the fall semester.  HOWEVER, UM must approve the location of study before a student is given approval to enroll from abroad for the fall semester.  See below. 

New Students

  • New international students for fall 2020 must have at least one course with an in-person component.
  • New international students are not allowed to be in a fully online courseload this fall and be in the United States.
  • If UM scales back to fully online at any point this fall, new international students who were enrolled in in-person or hybrid sections at the start of the fall semester will not need to depart the United States after the shift to online classes.
  • New students can enroll fully online from outside the United States but only with UM approval (see below).  Their immigration (SEVIS) record will be deferred to their semester of physical presence at UM.

For Advisors:

  • Health Holds and International Holds for new international students are being removed from student accounts this week.  As you may know, these are usually in place until a student arrives on campus, but we have been given approval for these to be lifted prior to arrival this fall.
  • Advisors may work with new students to register for an appropriate fall schedule.  New students need a minimum of one course that is in-person or hybrid.  
  • Because there have been reports in the US of immigration agents asking students to present their fall course schedules at the port of entry, OGE would like to issue letters for all new students confirming their schedule.  Please work with students to register them in the next two weeks if possible.
  • If new students are not able to find one in-person course in the fall, please contact OGE at

Online Enrollment from Overseas

  • Many students and departments have asked about enrollment in classes from overseas.  Please note that there exist location-specific requirements for compliance, based on the location where a student, regardless of nationality, accesses a course.  Issues that must be reviewed include tax liability for UM, export controls, whether the course constitutes a physical presence in another country, etc. 
  • While we appreciate that many courses are being offered online this fall, it does not automatically mean that students can take online classes from outside the United States. 
  • Country analyses are in the works, and we hope that most, if not all, countries of origin for fall international students will be analyzed by the end of this month and shared with students and departments.

Additional Reading

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